Where to find the North American ski slopes less packed
On the edge of the Four Corners region and surrounded by the mighty San Juan Mountains, this Old West railroad town of around 17,000 has blossomed into one of America’s adventure sports capitals. Durango also happens to be a vibrant, family-friendly ski town — perhaps the most affordable in Colorado. Twenty-seven miles up Highway 550 is Purgatory Resort, a family and intermediate skier’s dream hill, with 91 trails, ten lifts, five terrain parks, and a seemingly endless supply of groomed rollers for catching flight.
REVELSTOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Carved out of the central British Columbia wilderness, Revelstoke is the only ski area in North America where skiers and boarders can get to the goods via lifts, snowcats, and helicopters from the same base. For in-bounds powder seekers, a little hiking goes a long way here. Head for the dizzyingly deep and steep North Bowl, where you can re-create your favorite ski magazine cover shots. The region is also an epicenter for heli-skiing, with as many opportunities to get whisked to mountaintops as your wallet allows.
This woodsy ski paradise in northern Vermont’s Mad River Valley is establishing itself as the quietly humming soul of eastern skiing. Mad River Glen — the nation’s only cooperatively owned ski area — is the definition of old school, with narrow, plunging trails cut by hand almost 70 years ago in traditional New England style. It can’t be bothered with things like high-speed chairs, condos, and snowboards, which aren’t allowed. If you’re looking for a pure, rustic skiing experience, this is your spot.